Voters’ OK of Kyrene, Tempe Union measures allows planning to start now for future school maintenance


Story by Diana Whittle

The voters’ approval of budget
override measures in both the
Kyrene Elementary and Tempe
Union High school districts, lets
administrators breathe a partial sigh of
Although the funds don’t
actually come into play for several
years, planning can progress with the
knowledge that the resources will be
in place to support the Maintenance
and Operation budgets at their current
Voters approved the ballot
measures in both districts with more
than 58 percent of the vote.
“I just think that the Tempe Union
community has an understanding
that strong schools mean strong
communities, and I am just very
grateful for the support for our
teachers, our students and our
families,” said Kenneth Baca,
Tempe Union superintendent.
“As a result of this, we can expect
to continue the wonderful programs
inside and outside the classroom,
and continue to provide quality
Board member Sandy Lowe
“Tempe Union is a school district
where dedicated leaders, teachers
and staff are united in the goal of
making sure our kids are given the
best education possible, and this is
recognized by all those families that
entrust their kids to this district.”
In Kyrene, the continuation
of the current override means that
approximately $12 million will
continue to support general fund and
quality-of-life instruction such as
music, art and physical education.
Dr. David Schauer,
superintendent of the Kyrene district,
said that passage of the override allows
Kyrene to continue its current services
and programs for families.
“We are very appreciative to those
who conducted the campaign, ‘Keep
Kyrene Strong,’ and to the community
for demonstrating their strong support
through their votes,” said Schauer.
The passage of the ballot measure
renews existing overrides in both
Overrides in Arizona must be
renewed every five years or they begin
a two-year phase-down with complete
elimination after the seventh year if
not renewed. As state funding dollars
become tighter, school districts must
rely on additional local support for
their budget in the form of an override.
“Kyrene has been fortunate to
never lose an election except for one
time in 2010—and that election lost by
less than 100 votes, so we do know that
every vote counts,” said Schauer.
Typically, Kyrene goes to the
voters seeking a renewal prior to the
phase-down period of the existing
override to allow the district an
opportunity to adequately plan
programs and services based on
available resources.
A second ballot question in this
election, also approved by Kyrene
voters, concerns future action on
vacant land owned by the district
known as Club West.
“The current election was
successful because it was well
organized by a very strong core group
of volunteers from the community,”
said Schauer.
“This group saw to it that Keep
Kyrene Strong also was a well-funded
campaign by holding fundraising
events and asking for donations.”
Volunteers also were important to
the effort in the Tempe Union district,
where the override election approved
$7 million to be used for after-school,
athletic and extra-curricular programs,
along with facilities maintenance.
Rosalie Hirano is a parent who
actively supported campaigns in both
districts and shared her observations.
“In both campaigns, it was
necessary to explain that the ballot
measure was for an extension of an
existing property tax for education, not
a new one, and that their property rate
would not increase,” said Hirano.
“We also had to communicate to
voters without kids in elementary or
high school the impact quality schools
has on property values and the value
good schools bring to the community
as a whole.”



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